Canada beat Tonga; stay unbeaten
Canada beat Tonga; stay unbeatenSHARE
James Pritchard scored a try and went seven-for-seven on penalty kicks and conversions to spark Canada to a 36-27 win over Tonga in a Pacific Nations Cup match in Kingston, Ontario.
The Canadians, 3-0 in the five-nation event, stretched their lead at the top of the table – having already beaten the United States 16-9 last month and Fiji 20-18 just three days earlier.
After a friendly against Ireland next Friday at Toronto, the Canadians will try to complete a sweep of Cup matches with a victory at Japan on June 19.
Tonga, which opened with a 27-17 victory at Japan last month, will visit the United States for a match next Friday and play Fiji in Japan on June 19.
Canada took a 9-7 half-time lead, with three penalty kicks by fullback Pritchard for the hosts after a try by Lua Lokotui and conversion from Kurt Morath gave Tonga the early edge.
Tonga's Ed Aholelei was sent off with a red card in the 34th minute.
Matt Evans and Sean Duke scored early second-half tries and Canada jumped ahead by 16 points before Kurt Morath connected on a penalty to pull Tonga within 23-10.
Ciaran Hearn converted a long penalty in reply and Pritchard followed with a try and kicked the conversion to give Canada a 33-10 edge.
Tonga's Viliame Iongi, Fetu'u Vainikolo and Will Helu answered with tries to pull the visitors within 33-27 with less than three minutes to play.
But Pritchard added another penalty kick in the final seconds, completing a perfect kicking day to secure the victory for Canada.
"My heart stopped a couple times there," said Canadian captain Aaron Carpenter, who earned his 50th cap in the match.
Evans was stretchered off after a hard hit but was deemed well after the match.
It was the first meeting for Tonga and Canada since the Canadians won a 25-20 decision at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
Tries: Evans, Duke, Pritchard
Cons: Pritchard 3
Pens: Pritchard 4, Hearn
Tries: Lokotui, Iongi, Vainikolo, Helu
Cons: Morath, Kaho
Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Matt Evans, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Nick Blevins, 11 Sean Duke, 10 Nathan Hirayama, 9 Sean White, 8 Aaron Carpenter (captain), 7 John Moonlight, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Tyler Hotson, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Hamilton, 17 Doug Wooldridge, 18 Tom Dolezel, 19 Nanyak Dala, 20 Tyler Ardron, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Liam Underwood, 23 Pat Parfrey.
Tonga: 15 Viliami Hakalo, 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Will Helu, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Viliami Fihaki, 7 Nili Latu Captain, 6 Hale T Pole, 5 Lua Lokotui, 4 Emosi Kauhenga, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Ilasia Ma'asi, 1 Eddie Aholelei.
Replacements: 16 Elvia Taione, 17 Kama Sakalia, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Josh Afu, 20 Paula Kaho, 21 Thomas Palu, 22 Viliame Iongi, 23 Tevita Halaifonua.
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: Nick Ricono (USA), Gareth Morgan (USA)